Five: Guardians of David (2015)
Developer: Kingdom Games
Publisher: Kingdom Games
Platform Played: PC
Price: I bought the game on sale long ago. It is currently $14.99 on Steam
Background: Christian games have always been a mixed bag. Sometimes they are too dull! Sometimes they are excellent! And sometimes they are horrible: Catechumen (2000) and The War In Heaven (1999) are good examples of this. I’ve not played Catechumen or The War In Heaven. I have seen enough videos of the gameplay to render judgement though. Avoid The War In Heaven.
The best Christian computer game I have played was Ominous Horizons: A Paladin’s Calling (2001). I played this incredible FPS adventure at a friend of mine’s house when I was in 6th grade. This was an incredible game that was never boring and kept the story moving along nicely as well while teaching Bible lessons. Five: Guardians of David (2015) does this as well.
David, King of Israel had his armies when he was king, and when he was a military commander for his predecessor: Saul. David also had his mighty men: thirty of them. In this game you manage the five and accomplish task for one of Israel’s greatest historical leaders. Here is a link to the biblical reference in 2 Samuel.
Now I’m reviewing this game in two lenses. A gamer’s lens for the purposes of critque and A former Sunday School teacher’s lens for the purpose of judging its value for Biblical Education. I’ll give you a fast spoiler and say the game is a good one in both fields. This is a biblical Baldur’s Gate or Diablo to some degree.
The Gamer’s Lens: The gameplay here is solid an immersive. The voice acting present in the in-game dialogue and the graphic novel segments are excellent. The graphic novel cutscenes are superb as well. the storytelling is clear and present. The levels feel like the rough and tumble Israel that existed in the old testament ranging from the city streets to the dark caverns, and wide valleys. However, the levels are oftentimes linear to a point though. This did not detract from much though.
The combat system is reminiscent of the Lord Of The Rings games present on consoles from 2002 and 2003. However, when you are controlling a character out of a group of five and you are surrounded by Philistines it is hard to keep your eye on the character that you are controlling throughout the combat. The inventory system is clear and concise, reminiscent of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion‘s. Enemies range from the wildlife to enemy political and religious factions like the Philistines.
There are not many shortcomings in my eyes. However, the save game function is subpar. When I saved a game it was between two skirmishes in the midst of a level. When I loaded the game instead of taking me to the exact point it took me back to the start. I don’t have time for that. And I certainly do not have time for researching a fix. Aside from that this was a good attempt for Kingdom Games. They’re on to something. Hopefully they can improve and refine their work in the next game they make.
The Believer’s Lens: Five: Guardians of David is a great example of a successful faith-based media project. Like Christian Mingle (2014), starring Lacey Chabert the film has a message without being too cool or preachy. Christian Mingle focused on great storytelling: comedy, romance, and conflict. Five: Guardians of David is focused on great storytelling: combat, and biblical accuracy without being too preachy. Biblical stories are told via gameplay, but the game’s biblical citations are in the background. Players interact with the citations via the objects called ‘caches’ in the game. This allows for a seamless biblical actioneer based in the old testament that is fluid and cinematic. I could see this being used in a sunday school classroom as a homework assignment (ask me how). This would bring to life the early days of Israel’s monarchy.
Enjoy Five: Guardians of David for both reasons.